Montecito Mediterranean Estate
Beyond the impressive gate on one of Montecito’s most prestigious motorways, a bit of Tuscany awaits. Or, perhaps, a taste of the South of France. It’s a magical Mediterranean estate on just under an acre of pedigreed land on which stands a spectacular Mediterranean-style home, a beautifully restored and updated turn-of-the-20th-century 2-bedroom, 2-bath guest cottage, and impeccably designed and landscaped Italian gardens.
The main residence, designed by award-winning Santa Barbara architect Don Nulty, offers more than 4,000 sq. ft. of casual sophistication. Superior craftsmanship and custom features abound. Doors, windows, cabinetry, hardware and lighting, among other accouterments, bear the mark of artists in their respective fields. Antique stone, doors and accents take center stage in many areas. High, groin-vaulted and open beam ceilings combine with windows and French doors throughout the home to bestow a romantic interplay of light, shadow and texture. The entire residence is equipped with radiant heat, built-in sound and security systems.
The spacious San Ysidro Ranch-style guest cottage — built between 1897 and 1903 – has been completely remodeled to unite the feel of yesteryear with today’s comforts and conveniences. Separate and at a sizable distance from the main residence, the cottage maintains a private, tranquil presence on the estate grounds.
Tall, mature and perfectly manicured hedges border the property, thereby assuring utmost privacy while allowing breathtaking views of Montecito Peak and its surrounding hills. The formal Italian garden accommodates a splendid assortment of trees, including Meyer lemon, Satsuma tangerine, Valencia and Navel orange, and avocado. There are rose and cutting gardens. Despite these luxuries, most of the landscaping of this is drought tolerant.
The home’s exterior entryway presents a sampling of riches yet to come with its groin-vaulted ceiling, custom-made floral tile panel and aged limestone bench. The notable ceiling continues inside where Venetian plaster walls provide a warm and serene ambiance, antique French walnut armoire doors open to a closet, and a powder room features a French limestone sink and backsplash.
A stone’s throw away, and in the tradition of a true Mediterranean estate, the stunning living room proudly displays its 14-foot-high open-beam ceiling, 18th century French Directoire limestone fireplace with custom ironwork screen, and three sets of French doors to the north terrace, where an outdoor fireplace stands ready to warm cool Montecito evenings. The room’s companion, the library, is fitted with custom mahogany cabinetry and a media control center, and offers French doors to the terrace. Nearby, in the formal dining room, owners and guests dine elegantly below a groin-vaulted ceiling and custom wrought iron chandelier, surrounded by Venetian plaster walls with iron sconces.
The kitchen is a gourmet cook’s dream. Counters are of distressed French limestone, and the cabinets are alder, while upper cabinets are inset with restoration glass. The expansive and versatile center island features a top of cherry-stained walnut, a copper sink, and rests under a six-foot-long custom iron pot rack with copper accents and crowned with a 16-light candelabrum. Top-of-the-line appliances are by Sub-zero, Wolf and Míele. The adjacent large breakfast room with its coffered ceiling has French doors to a lovely portico perfect for dining al fresco. The culinary center also provides a 750-bottle, climate-controlled wine room.
Two bedrooms are convenient to the main living areas, feature baths en suite, and open via French doors to terraces and the grounds.
The upper level of the main residence is reserved as a master retreat. The suite’s bedroom and adjoining sitting room comprise approximately 450 sq. ft. of relaxed luxury, and are complemented by a pair of walk-in closets, a luxurious bath, and French doors to a private loggia overlooking the gardens and pond, and offering superb mountain views. The bedroom, and the sitting room with its 19th century fireplace, feature hand-distressed black walnut floors. The spa-like bath is embellished with Carrara marble floor, soaking tub and sink surrounds. The sumptuous steam shower is also Carrara marble.
The vintage guest cottage served as a chauffer’s residence among other uses, and was purchased and completely renovated in the early 1990’s by the owners of the neighboring Constantia estate. In addition to those renovations, which included new foundation, plumbing and electrical, the cottage received a new roof in 2003 and a remodeled kitchen in 2012. Today, this enchanting reminder of Montecito’s grand early years pleases even the most discriminating guests. Its bedrooms open to private patios, and it also hosts a kitchen, living room and beautiful sunroom.
Recently permitted as an “Accessory Dwelling Unit” (ADU), by Santa Barbara County, the cottage has its own 2 off-street parking spots and is perfect for visiting guests, adult children or elderly family members desiring proximity to children and grandchildren, yet maintaining one’s own independence. It is located well removed from the main residence, but within the gated property confines, and is preserved as one of the few remaining early examples of such architecture remaining in Montecito. The ADU designation preserves the cottage’s unique character and approximately 1,130 sq. ft. size, and exempts it from local zoning requirements, which previously limited such structures to 800 sq. ft.
The landscaping of this Mediterranean estate was originally designed by landscape architect Sydney Baumgartner, and has been revised several times. Most recently, it was modified by Chris and Lisa Cullen’s Montecito Landscape.
AT A GLANCE
(All square footage and dimensions are approximate)
- Entry foyer
- coat closet and powder room
- View through to the living room with 14’ high beamed ceiling
- Living Room – 26’ x 20’
- Antique fireplace mantel and surround
- French limestone floors with French doors leading to the gardens with mountain views
- Library – 15’ x 14’.
- Living room adjacent
- Custom designed Mahogany cabinetry with writing desk niche
- Mountain views
- French doors open to gardens
- Kitchen – 23’ x 19’
- Gourmet cook’s dream
- French limestone counters, cabinets and center island with walnut-stained cherry wood top
- Top-of-the-line appliances
- Views of the cutting garden, terrace area, and mountains
- Breakfast / Family room – 16’ x 12’
- Kitchen adjacent
- French doors open to covered terrace
- Adjacent to wine room and mud room
- Cutting Garden views
- Wine room
- Family room adjacent
- 750 bottles capacity
- Mud Room
- built in cabinetry with doorway leading to covered terrace and trellised walkway
- Laundry Room
- Adjacent to downstairs guest suites
- Built-in cabinetry providing ample storage
- Master Suite
- Bedroom – 17’ x 17’
- French doors to covered loggia with mountain and garden views
- Hand distressed black walnut floors
- Sitting area – 17’ x 11’
- 19th century fireplace
- Mountain views
- Dual vanities with built-in cabinetry
- Soaking tub with mountain view
- Steam shower
- Carrara marble floors and counter tops
- Dual Closets with built-in cabinetry
- Bedroom – 17’ x 17’
- 2 Guest suites
- Radiant heat system throughout the residence
- Custom lighting throughout
- Multiple French doors leading to terraces and gardens
- Vaulted and beamed ceilings
- Antique fireplace mantels and surrounds
- Automated home entertainment system
(All square footage and dimensions are approximate.)
- Guest House
- 2 bedrooms
- 2 baths
- Living room, dining area, kitchen
- 2 fireplaces
- Sun room
- Front and rear decks
- Decorative pool with fountain
- Dining terrace with barbecue and outdoor fireplace
- View terrace
- Cutting garden with boxwood hedges
- Garden pergola
- Landscaping with drought tolerant plants and mature olive trees